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As I gear up to change the serger blade on my new machine for the first time, I thought it might be a good time to remind everyone about proper (preventative) maintenance for you machine. Since your sewing machine is the largest investment you’ll have to make, it’s important to take care of your equipment!

Change your needles often. This is one of the easiest ways to keep your machine working properly (not to mention keep your fabric from becoming ruined). A good rule of thumb is to change your needle after 8-10 hours of sewing or if it has become damaged.

Clean your machine after each project. Even if you’re not working with a particularly ‘messy’ fabric, small particles of lint can still work their way throughout your machine. Use a small brush to clean areas such as feed dogs (removing the face plate will help in cleaning thoroughly) and bobbin case. Compressed air can be used to clean areas such as tension disks, but never blow into your machine – the moisture from your breath can cause the metal in your sewing machine to rust or corrode.

Oil your machine as recommended by your manual (some machines are self-lubricating and will not need oiling). Use small drops and only oil designed for sewing machines. Some machines are self-lubricating and will not need oil

Tighten loose screws.

Keep your machine covered when not in use. This will prevent dust, hair, lint from entering your machine.

Have your machine serviced by a professional every two years. Not only will they thoroughly clean your machine, they will check for loose or broken parts, adjust the timing (if necessary) and keep your machine running smoothly for years!


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    Jan 15, 2011, 09.16 PMby janetmiller1

    In Northeast Ohio my favorite professional (and the ONLY one I use) is Barnes Sewing Center in Cuyahoga Falls. Bob Barnes has been my dealer for many years and I have never had anything but a positive experience. I can’t recommend them highly enough. And, of course, take your machine in for service before you leave on vacation. That way you can take your little travel machine with you and your main machine will be ready and waiting when you get home!

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    Jan 15, 2011, 06.06 PMby auschick

    In the DC metro area, I go to G Street Fabrics to get mine serviced – they have stores in Centreville, VA, Falls Church, VA, and Rockville, MD. Last time I got mine serviced, they had a back-log due to the snow storms here, so it took about 4 weeks to get done. Thankfully, I was out of the country on vacation, so it wasn’t a big deal.

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    Jan 13, 2011, 05.41 PMby lovequilting2

    We have a great guy who has done repairs for years and he works on ALL models of machines. He carries Janome machines and also has lots of accessories for machines. I highly recommend him. Here is his information:

    Dana Nissen Macomb Sewing Center 719 W. Jackson St. Macomb, IL 61455 (309)836-2186

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    Jan 13, 2011, 05.36 AMby kraftykatina

    OIL OIL OIL!!! It’s amazing how much oiling your machine and having a constant supply of fresh needles can make or break a project!

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    Jan 13, 2011, 12.21 AMby violetsky

    I have to admit I have been guilty of neglect. I was a terrible sewing machine owner in the past. I have gotten better at cleaning her out and changing the needle with each new project. I took Janet apart (I know a big no no) and somehow managed to fix the tension thingy. I do need to learn to cover her though when she is not in use. Wish my instruction book had more details on Janet’s (the machine) maintenance.

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    Jan 11, 2011, 07.15 PMby joanz22

    I took a 5-hr class on how to use and care for my machine..so well worth it. Class=$60, Annual machine cleaning and svc=$90. So well worth it! I oil and change needles after every project but do need to invest in one of those little hand held vacuums/blowers to get in between the tiny spots. I also use a sewing machine oil w/a long tube to get into the little crevices, what a difference!

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    Jan 11, 2011, 04.35 PMby ruthpatricia

    I do all the things you say to maintain my machine but at the moment I have a problem with the presser foot. When I want to lower it, it goes down very slowly as if there were some “gunge” stopping it sliding down easily. Is there anything I can do about this because if I take it to the Pfaff shop for servicing he keeps it 2 weeks and I can’t live 2 weeks without my machine!.

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    Jan 11, 2011, 04.12 PMby smb7266

    Finding someone who can service your machine is almost impossible. In today’s world, maintenance is undesirable (manufacturers want you to buy a new one). We have offshored all our skilled jobs and no one learns any of these skills today.

    If anyone has a good sewing machine maintenance shop or person, please post!

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    Jan 11, 2011, 02.34 PMby wzrdreams

    The last time I took my machine in for a tune up they broke my reverse switch. I haven’t taken my machine to a professional since and that was something like 8 years ago. Now I care for my machine a year with a thorough cleaning and oiling. The timing isn’t off, so there is no need for professional assistance.

    I did get a serger a year ago and I am unsure how to properly clean and care for it. There is MUCH more lint and dust that gets inside due to the blade and I have no idea where to oil it. Any tips for serger maintenance?

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      Jan 11, 2011, 03.29 PMby alazycalm

      My grandmother’s Pfaff has been working without professional assistance (but with plenty of preventative maintenance and love) for I don’t know how many years. I’m fairly certain it hasn’t moved from her sewing room in at least 30-40 years, and she made half our clothes on it when I was growing up! Of course, if you have a problem, that’s another story, and maybe newer machines need it more, but otherwise I just don’t think I can buy into this every two year thing.

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    Jan 11, 2011, 01.49 PMby mirela

    I’m afraid of the ‘professional’ care every two years, my machines work fine and I clean them with brushes and canned air, but I’m afraid to take it and leave it for two days with a sewing machine shop where I have no idea what they will do to them, since they do work… If anyone knows a reliable source for this close to zip 33021 I’d like to hear about.

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    Jan 11, 2011, 01.25 PMby mlssfshn

    This was a discussion in a nother group I belong to recently and you’d be supprised by the number of people who don’t know these simple steps to care for their machine. I’m now offerering classes in machine care because so many want to learn.

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    Jan 11, 2011, 04.17 AMby freedragonfly

    Honestly, when my employees have problems with their machines they know to; lubricate, change their needle, and re-thread their machine before they ask me to look. If there is something wrong, inevitably they forgot to do one of the three. Needles are cheap and so is oil! Most machines are fairly forgiving and it is really hard to do something catastrophic.
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    Jan 10, 2011, 09.38 PMby nellyvdb

    How come I cannot add this to my toolkit? I want to!

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    Jan 10, 2011, 07.01 PMby ssmast

    I just ‘favorited’ them for future reference. Since I’m self-taught, no one has ever told me these tips . Thank you.

    Sarah M

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